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My Orthodontic Expander Made a Huge Gap Between My Teeth

Over the past couple of decades there has been a shift in orthodontics from extracting teeth to expanding the arches when there is crowding present. Expanders work great, but there are some side effects that catch parents by surprise. One of them is the appearance and disappearance of a gap between the front teeth. The palate or roof of the mouth is made up of two bones joined together down the center by a junction called a suture. When a patient is young, this suture is made up of cartilage that is the area where growth takes place. After skeletal maturation somewhere between 14 and 17 years of age, this suture fuses and the palate becomes a single solid structure. Expanders take advantage of the presence of the growth plate if they are used before it is fused. One sign that the expander has actually moved the two halves of the palate apart is the appearance of a space between the front teeth.  This gap is normal and desirable. After the expander has provided the desired amount of expansion, our doctors will typically leave it in place for about a year holding the two halves of the palate apart while new bone develops between them. Upon removal of the expander, there is always some relapse or loss of arch width. Most orthodontists over-correct by a few millimeters in anticipation of this change. During this stabilization period, the gap created during expansion tends to close on its own. This happens slowly over time, but it shocks many parents the first time they notice it is smaller or gone altogether. Understandably, many parents call our office worried that the expander has slipped and that the benefits achieved during the activation phase have been lost. During palatal expansion there are two forces on the teeth. The force created by the expander pushes the palate apart and a gap appears between the teeth. It is not uncommon for the gap between the two front teeth to be completely closed by the time the expander is removed. Knowing ahead of time that an expander will create a gap between the front teeth and that it will go away on its own is reassuring when it happens. Understanding what is normal will save you some worry. If what you see in your mouth or in the mouth of your child does not seem to follow the pattern described however, give your orthodontic office a call and let them know. It is better to be safe than sorry!




Tips for Brushing Your Teeth with Braces

Here at Angolkar4Smiles Orthodontics, we know it is challenging to brush your teeth when you have braces. We have put together some tips that will help you keep your teeth clean so that they will look even more amazing when the braces come off!
Remember to brush after EVERY TIME YOU EAT as well as in the morning and before bed.  Here’s a visual for you to follow as well.

1. Use a soft  bristled toothbrush. Hard and medium toothbrushes can damage gums and should be avoided.

2. Always use a mirror!  It is impossible to see what it is you are doing without looking into a mirror.  Dr. Angolkar always reminds patients to pay attention and focus on just brushing.

3. While using only your wet tooth brush, begin removing debris from around the brackets and under the wire using apicking motion rather than scrubbing. Scrubbing does a decent job on the surface of the braces, but that action will not remove plaque and food that are caught under the braces.

4.Time yourself and spend at least two FULL minutes brushing your teeth. You should spend at least 30 seconds on each quadrant of your  mouth. You might think that you do this already, but most patients who time themselves find that they are brushing an average of only 30 seconds for their entire mouth!

5. The best toothpaste is the one that tastes best to the patient and encourages them to brush for a full two minutes.  When it comes to good oral hygiene it is the TIME SPENT and the technique used and not the brand of toothpaste.

Please let our office know if you have any questions about proper oral hygiene while wearing braces.  Also, Don’t forget to floss daily!

Seattle 206-523-6327

Proper Diet with Braces During the Holidays

With the holidays upon us… it is tougher than ever to make the right food choices.  Though orthodontic treatments at Angolkar4Smiles are designed to accommodate your lifestyle, chances are you have needed to make some dietary modifications to prevent damage to your braces and prolong orthodontic treatment.

You can eat most foods normally the way you did without braces. However, some foods can damage orthodontic appliances or cause them to come loose. Examples of foods you will need to avoid include:

  • Chewy foods like taffy, chewing gum, beef jerky, and bagels
  • Hard foods like peanuts, ice chips, and hard candy
  • Crunchy foods like chips, apples, and carrots

How to Continue to Eat the Foods You Love Most
Keep in mind that you may still be able to enjoy some of the foods you love by making certain modifications to the way you eat them. For example, steaming or roasting carrots makes them softer and easier to eat. Similarly, you can remove corn from the cob, or cut up produce like apples and pears to avoid biting into them. Other tips include grinding nuts into your yogurt or dipping hard cookies into milk to soften them. If you must eat hard candies, simply suck on them instead of biting into them.
If you have any question whether a food is safe to eat during your treatment, we encourage you to contact our office to get further advise.

~ We Wish You A Very Happy Holiday and Joyous New Year! ~

Avoid Treatment Delays

Stay on Track!

Here at Angolkar4Smiles Orthodontics, our patients hate the thought of delaying their treatment and we always stress the importance at each appointment if we see you are behind in where you should be.  Patients NEVER want their braces on for longer than needed but there are some cases in which it does happen. Our team has put together some tips on how you can stay on track in regards to your braces off appointment.

1. Keep your adjustment appointments! Each visit at Angolkar4Smiles is carefully planned to move your teeth a specific way in a certain time frame. It’s important to note that missing an appointment can add weeks or months to your treatment time.  Our office tends to fill the schedule far in advance so if you miss your appointment we may not have another one for some time as well.

2. Let our team know as soon as possible if you experience any problems with your braces or appliances. A missing wire, rubber band, or broken bracket can delay treatment time, so we ask that you please give us a call right away to report any issues rather than waiting until your next visit.

3. Make sure you wear your rubber bands as prescribed. Most of our patients will need to wear elastics or rubber bands at some point during their treatment. Not wearing the bands or elastics, or not wearing them enough, can delay your treatment time.Rubber bands are critical in aligning your bite. Because of this, our doctors can always tell if you are wearing them enough.  When we check to see how your bite is progressing… we will have seen no change in your bite!  This is the most common delay in treatment as compliance can be hard for some patients.
4. Finally, we want you to maintain good oral hygiene, just as you did before your treatment began. In addition to flossing regularly, we encourage you to brush your teeth after every time you eat. Not brushing will allow sugar to wear away the cement on the braces, making them less effective in moving your teeth, as well as elevate your risk of developing cavities or tooth decay, which will inevitably delay treatment time.

We hope that you don’t experience a delay in your treatment! Please let us help and guide you from the start to the finish which always results in a beautiful brace-free smile!


Visit Your Dentist

If you just got your braces on, or have been in treatment with us for some time, and you’re wondering if you should continue visiting your general dentist since you’re seeing Dr. Angolkar regularly…  the answer is…YES PLEASE!  Our office specializes only in orthodontics (braces) and nothing else.  That is how you know that we are top notch in what we do because that is all we concentrate on!  Our doctors have you in mind when they stress the importance of your regular dental checkups right from the very start.  The front desk at Angolkar4Smiles take time to send correspondence to your dentist; from your consultation to your initial banding, progress to final braces removal, they have tons of knowledge about you and your orthodontic treatment.  Sometimes you will need to set up appointments to remove brackets or archwires to get the cleaning completed so take time to try and coordinate those appointments with your regular check up here at our office.  Be sure to check with your general dentist to see if we will need to remove anything before a checkup.  Your day may look something like this… come to our office to remove any archwires or brackets for cavities–> go to the dentist to complete the work needed–> come back to us on THE SAME DAY to have your appliances replaced.  Thank goodness this is only required of you 2x a year!

Today, we thought we would share a few reasons why it’s crucial to keep up with your regular visits at your dentist in addition to coming in for your regular adjustments at Angolkar 4 Smiles Orthodontics.

One of the best reasons to visit your dentist while you undergo orthodontic treatment is to remove plaque and tartar buildup. Having braces means you have food traps which particles and millions of bacteria can hide. Eventually, plaque and tartar can form around your brackets, bands or other appliances which can lead to cavities. Having your teeth professionally cleaned can help ensure most, if not all, plaque and tartar is removed.

The next reason to visit a dentist is to help protect your teeth from decalcification… A serious condition which causes white spots on your tooth surfaces, and is irreversible. Decalcification is preventable; patients who cut down on sugary sweets and acidic foods, practice good oral hygiene, and visit their dentist regularly can help prevent decalcification.

Making sure to visit your dentist will help ensure your teeth look their best once your braces come off. If you do not have a general dentist please give us a call or let us know at your next adjustment appointment and we would be happy to refer you to someone wonderful!  Having braces is a team effort between you, your orthodontist and general dentist… we are so happy to be part of your team!

Electric Toothbrush vs Standard Toothbrush

This is SUCH a FAQ that we decided to blog about this HOT TOPIC!

Since the introduction of the power toothbrush in the 1960s, this tool has undergone many technological advances, from design and bristle motions to rotation oscillation and sonic vibration.
What is rotation oscillation? That’s when the head of the toothbrush alternately rotates in one direction and then the other. Power toothbrushes can deliver up to 50,000 strokes per minute, which is much more effective than the average 300 strokes per minute with a manual toothbrush.
The brush heads are replaceable and should be changed every three to six months. Each family member should have his or her own brush head while sharing the base motor.

We recommend you brush for a minimum of two minutes. Some electric toothbrushes include a signal you can hear, such as a beep every 30 seconds, to indicate it’s time to switch to a different area of the mouth. Others sound an alert after the full two minutes has elapsed.

Our doctors say that it doesn’t really matter which toothbrush you use… it’s all about the technique.  You have to brush all the quadrants of the mouth and don’t forget along the gum line and above and under those braces!!  Using a mirror to REALLY look at what you are brushing is best and use a timer if helpful as well.  Also, don’t forget to brush in the morning, after each meal, and again at night!


4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

Angolkar4Smiles is wishing you a safe, fun, long weekend!  No matter how you celebrate…know that it is a holiday that forever changed history…

Wikipedia states that this is a paid federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independance on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (now officially known as the United Kingdom). Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.

Some more background behind the holiday…

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain.  After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4.

No matter how your family chooses to celebrate the Fourth, stay safe, take precautions, and don’t forget to brush after your fabulous Fourth feast! 

Did You Know?

Our office does not require a referral?

Here at Angolkar4Smiles Orthodontics we specialize in orthodontic care.  A common misconception is that a referral is needed in order for our orthodontists to complete an oral exam and consultation.  This is simply not true!  We welcome all walks of life regardless of how they heard about our office.  Most dentists aren’t aware that our office also prefers to see children as young as 7 years old.  It is also commonly believed that all baby teeth have to fall out before braces are needed, our doctors can offer a lot of preventative treatments that can address many developing concerns early on.  The best source of knowing is us!  Call our office for a complimentary consultation today and we will do an initial exam including x-rays at no charge.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Here are some helpful and useful orthodontic tips to apply if you are getting out of town this summer!!

If you are wearing braces and are planning a vacation, our team at Angolkar4Smiles would suggest that you be prepared. We put together a list of items that will be handy to have with you at all times while you are out of town. They include:

  • Toothpick, flosspick, or other interdental cleaners
  • Travel toothbrush
  • A water bottle or a mini bottle of mouth rinse
  • Orthodontic wax to help with discomfort from protruding wires
  • A small mirror for examining any possible issues in your mouth

*Putting these items together in a “braces/oral hygiene kit” may be wise.

If you happen to be on vacation and experience problems reaching our office, we suggest going online and searching for orthodontic practices in your area. Most orthodontists will lend a helping hand to another orthodontic patient and get him or her out of pain or discomfort.

We also suggest avoiding the following foods to prevent broken brackets and/or wire distortion while you are on vacation:

  • Chewy, sticky, or gummy food
  • Apples, pears, and other whole fruits (cut fruit into wedges before consuming)
  • Bagels and hard rolls
  • Corn on the cob
  • Hard candies
  • Hard cookies or pretzels
  • All varieties of nuts, including peanuts, almonds, and cashews
  • Cut up your protein into small pieces

Follow these tips and you can have a worry-free vacation! Please give us a call if you have any questions!

Happy Traveling!

Healthy Food Substitutes

More and more parents are looking to replace everyday items with another for a better, healthier and safer life for their kids.  When in orthodontic treatment, substitutions are a must…applesauce instead of apples, steamed carrots instead of natural, that sort of thing.  This post is to help give you some ideas on what you can feed your fellow brace-face 🙂


This meal happens to be the easiest to keep similar to what you were doing before braces since most are options that are soft.  We recommend eggs (cooked any way really), French Toast, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, hot cereal, grits, soft toast, and cereals that will get soggy with milk.


During the school year, it may be tricky to find foods on the school menu that won’t damage or bother braces.  We suggest you opt for bringing lunch from home to help your child make smart food choices.  Tuna, chicken or egg salad sandwiches can help provide nutrition, and are soft enough not to bother braces.  You can also pack turkey or ham sandwich or soft bagel for bread.  Options for sides would include applesauce, yogurt or pudding in a variety of flavors.


Soft meat choices and slow-cooked meats such as meatloaf, meatballs, pot roast, roasted chicken, soft-cooked fish, fish sticks and chicken nuggets.  Serve as a side soft consistency vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, squash, and greens.  Rice, past, risotto, or couscous are excellent sides to add carbohydrates to the meal also.


Indulging in dessert is fun for every kid, those with braces should be no different.  Soft options such as ice cream, cake, smoothies, milkshakes, cheesecake, cream pies, pudding and Jell-O.  Pick a flavor… they are all yummy 🙂


Curb their hunger in between meals with yogurt, cottage cheese, applesauce, bananas, baked apples and ripened fruits with soft consistency.  Saltine crackers are an option to replace chips; then can be broken into smaller pieces and softened by the saliva in the mouth.